Healthier Crispy Rice Treats

Healthier Crispy Rice Treats

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve had a real hankering for Rice Krispie treats…  Of course I could have easily whipped up the classic butter and marshmallow version I grew up with, but number one, I wouldn’t feel good about letting Miss G try one (which is slowly becoming the determining factor of whether or not any of us should eat particular foods), and number two, have you ever read the ingredient list on the side of a bag of marshmallows?!  It’s not good.

So today Miss G and I set off on a little mission to create our own healthier version.

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To be honest, I really had no idea if it was going to work.  My thought process went something like this… Hmmm… I guess I could replace the butter with a nut butter (still lots of fat, but good fat with some added nutrition mixed in). Then I could replace the marshmallows with a more natural sticky sweetener (Maybe maple syrup? Honey? Brown rice syrup?) And the regular Rice Krispies cereal could easily be swapped for a sugar-free crisp brown rice cereal.  It at least sounds like an okay plan, right?

In the end, I decided to go with cashew butter… It’s light, has a mild flavour {that is almost mallowy}, and is super creamy.  As for my sweetener, after a bit of online research, I decided to go with this brown rice syrup.  I haven’t used brown rice syrup a whole lot in the past, but that’s only because I hadn’t yet done my research.  What I found out is that brown rice syrup is a natural sweetener produced by fermenting cooked rice and treating it with natural enzymes from sprouted barley.  It’s about half as sweet as sugar, has a mild flavour, and is thick and syrupy (somewhere between pure maple syrup and a good honey).  The benefits are that it has a low glycemic value, and it’s a good source of minerals and minor nutrients.  Sold.  In order to add just a touch of sweetness, we added a little bit of pure maple syrup, and pure vanilla is a must in almost all baking projects in our house.

So there you have it – crisp brown rice cereal, brown rice syrup, cashew butter, pure maple syrup, and pure vanilla – and all were available in our nearby {regular} grocery store.

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Just for fun, we decided to make our treats in individual portions using a muffin tin, so Grae prepared the tray ahead of time by lightly brushing on some grapeseed oil.

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Now for the actual cooking part…  First, we put our brown rice syrup to a large pot…

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Then we added our cashew butter…

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And a little bit of pure maple syrup for sweetness.

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Then we transferred the pot over to the stove and stirred the mixture over medium heat until it was hot and liquidy, but not bubbling.

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Next, we added a good amount of vanilla, gave the mixture another quick stir, and removed it from the heat.

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While you could just as easily dump your cereal into the pot and dirty one less dish, we opted for dumping our cereal into a large bowl and pouring the mixture on top so Miss G wouldn’t have to worry about the hot pot during the mixing process.

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Then we mixed everything up until the cereal was evenly coated with the gooey mixture.

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Working quickly, I filled each cup with a heaping scoop of crisp rice mixture.

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Then we placed a large sheet of parchment paper on top and pushed the mixture down firmly into the cups.

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After a little bit of time in the freezer, I used a butter knife to pop out our treats.

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The verdict on Miss G’s first ever crispy rice treat?  She LOVED it.

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We all loved them in fact.  They’re soft and gooey just like regular Rice Krispie treats, with a similar flavour that is just slightly more caramely.

The true determining factor of success?  Brad {my sometimes picky husband who doesn’t always love the ‘weird food’ G and I cook} announcing that he likes them just as much as the classic variety, only to later decide that he thinks he likes them more.  Score. ☺


Healthy Crisp Rice Treats

  • 1/2 cup of organic brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup of cashew butter (or your favourite nut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla
  • 4 cups of organic sugar-free crispy brown rice cereal

Measure the brown rice syrup, nut butter, and maple syrup into a large pot.  Warm over medium heat, stirring almost constantly.  When the mixture is hot and liquidy (but not bubbling), add the vanilla, give it another quick stir, and remove the pot from the heat.

Add in the crispy rice cereal and mix well to ensure the cereal is evenly coated with the sticky mixture.

Dump the mixture into a parchment-lined baking pan or scoop into a greased muffin cups and press it down firmly.  Pop the pan into the freezer for about 15 minutes to allow the treats to set.

Enjoy your much healthier crispy rice treats!

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37 thoughts on “Healthier Crispy Rice Treats

  1. I have just found your blog and I absolutely love it. This post is wonderful – thank you for doing the research that I never seem to get round to doing and so my kids miss out on these treats as I don’t want to fill them with sugar. I can’t wait to make this recipe at the weekend with my wee ones – they’re going to love it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Louise! Thank you for your kind words… I’m so glad you found our little space on the internet. :) Please let me know what you think about the treats. Enjoy!

  2. Oooo this looks interesting, I’ll have to try these. I make our marshmallows from scratch, but they don’t have a long shelf life – plus they are still pretty much refined sugar central, just without the preservatives! And it’s a bit of a faff, so I don’t do it very often.

    1. Hi Rena! I’ve never seen a healthier version either, but I knew it couldn’t be too hard. :) You’re right – you’d probably taste the peanut butter more than you would the cashew butter, but if you’re a peanut butter lover, that may not be a bad thing. :)

  3. Made these this evening with almond butter (what we had on hand) and added about a tablespoon of posh flaked sea salt in the mix. Turned out very well! Picky husband liked it too.

  4. this looks fantastic, what a great idea! My little one is actually allergic to cashews, could you suggest a good alternative? Also, where can I find grape seed oil…at my local grocery store or would I need to go to a specialty store? (I live in Alberta). Thanks:)

    1. Hi Leah! I think you could replace the cashew butter with almost any type of nut or seed butter… My top replacement choice would be macadamia nut butter (it’s super mild and creamy), with sesame seed and sunflower seed butter coming in next. Is he able to have any of those?

      Grapeseed oil can be found at regular grocery stores (I buy it at both Superstore in Canada and Trader Joe’s in the States), but you can just as easily replace it with another healthy oil. I very light olive oil would be my choice. :)

      1. Thanks for the tips:)
        Also, do you know which section of superstore I would find grapeseed oil? I’ve tried looking for it before with no luck…and there never seems to be any staff around to help!

      2. Superstore is tough as far as finding someone to help you goes… I believe I’ve found it just in the regular oil section. I remember searching through the huge wall of different oils and finding just one grapeseed option, so check carefully – it may be hiding! Good luck! :)

      3. Great recipe. Just discovered your blog. A thought about grapeseed oil, it is a refined oil and not great for you. I know u like to do your research and there is more info out there about olis and how ones body processes them. Coconut oil, ev olive oil, ghee, pastured butter, pastured tallow, or pastured lard are much better unrefined options. No criticism meant just wanted to share. I have used something thinking it was the healthiest choice only to discover something different.

  5. These sound great. I will have to try these. My kids loved rice krispy treats when they were little and they still love them but cut out a lot of things last year to get healthier. This looks like the way to bring them back.

  6. YUM! These sound wonderful. I think I might have to give them a try to see what my teens think about them. That is the true test of everything in our household!

    Thanks for linking up with Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop.
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  7. These look really yummy! I don’t normally make treats like this for my girls for the exact reason that they’re all filled with junk. This is a really nice alternative! Do you think regular butter would work with this recipe? We like to make our own butter with cream from local farms. My oldest daughter is allergic to nuts and doesn’t like the taste of seed butters, too similar to nut butter for her…

    1. Hi Aleacia! I think homemade butter would work – good on you for making it! I may cut down the amount a little as heated nut butter is quite a bit thicker than heated butter and may be part of the reason they stick together so well. Maybe try 1/3 of butter? You’ll have to let me know how they turn out when you do try!

  8. Oh my goodness, you’ve done it again Jen! I just ate my first one and it was DELISH! I can’t wait for lil P to try one as she has never even had a rice crispy square before. I think she’s going to be in heaven! I didn’t know where to find brown rice syrup at the grocery store, so I added an extra 1/4 cup maple syrup to the mixture instead. YUM! Thanks for being so creative in the kitchen! ;)

  9. Love this recipe! thanks so much….do you have nutritional facts by any chance? I’m sure I shouldn’t eat the whole batch right? =)

    1. Hah! I won’t tell anyone if you do eat the whole batch, Jamie. ;)

      I don’t have the nutritional facts for the crispy treats themselves, but I could give you the facts for the ingredients if that would help.

      1. These were seriously soooo good, my gosh! I ate more than I should have, but that’s okay =) My son and picky bf LOVED them, as did my bakery owner mother in-law =) she answer with a “these are HEALTHIER” =) thanks so much. I’ll be passing this along =) ( i have all the ingredients just don’t know how to calculate the facts)

  10. I can’t find cashew butter or macadamia nut butter at my local store. i’ve never had sunflower seed butter…do you think this taste would still be mild? i have some organic butter in my freezer, maybe i could just use this?

  11. These have been fantastic! Thank you so much for the recipe. I’ve substituted peanut butter for my batches. These krispies have been a great replacement to the expensive, preservative filled bars I use on my bike rides. I’m an amateur racer playing around with how to replace protein and carbs (without too much refined sugar) during hard training rides and races, while also avoiding the stomach upset that often comes with hard exertion. So far, so good! You’ve made the end of my long race season much more tolerable. Thank you!

  12. These are absolutely delicious and easy to make ! Thanks for sharing. I have made them many times as my daughter loves them. I use almond-hazelnut butter but today I used plain butter since my girl wants to take these to school. I didn’t want to risk sending anything with nuts to school.

    These are a hit in my household :-) !

  13. Your recipe sounded so good. But I found it after making my own because I’ve had this gnawing hunger for rice krispies treats. Being stuck in, can’t call in pizza orders, can’t eat out, I was climbing the walls. We’ve been “safe at home” since February, so I decided we needed something crunchy and decadent. I didn’t really measure the ingredients. I did use a stick and a 1/2 of butter. Melted it down in a pot, added some salt, some cinnamon, some nutmeg, 1/3 of a bag of lite brown sugar, 1 full cup of white sugar, and 2 handfuls of whole, salt free cashews. I stirred it up constantly until it reached a nice gooey boil, removed it from the heat, and dumped in a good 3 cups of rice krispies. I stirred it all throughly until the cereal was coated. Then I buttered a round, high glass baking pan. I dumped in the mixture and began flattening it down, finally using foil at the end to give me more traction and strength. Then with the foil still covering it, I crimped it all around and under the rim of the pan. It’s in the fridge till morning and I expect it to be great. Will let you know.

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